MTP-8 solution application in 10G/40G data centers

In most data centers, MTP cable is widely used for high density application. MTP-12 connectivity and MTP-24 connectivity are the two common types of cabling connections, which use links based on increments of 12 and 24, such as 12-fiber trunk cables and 24-fiber trunk cables. In addition to MTP-12 and MTP-24, there is another MTP solution—MTP-8. In a MTP-8 solution or Base-8 solution, 8-fiber trunk cables, 24-fiber or 32-fiber trunk cables can be used to transmit data. In brief, MTP-8 solutions use cable links based on increments of the number “eight”. This post will explain the benefits of MTP-8 solution and show its application in 10G/40G data centers.

Why MTP-8 Appears?

With MTP-12 and MTP-24 using in the data center for years, you may ask why there is still a need for MTP-8? In fiber optic industry, optical transceiver roadmap changes rapidly from 10G—40G—100G and even up to 400G (see the picture below). With faster speeds spreading out into data center racks and SANs, there is a need for a more manageable grouping. For 40G connections and above, data is usually carried over eight fibers, and terminated at the switch in a MTP-8 QSFP transceiver which combines eight fibers.

40G/100G/400G use MTP-8 solution

From the picture, we can see that for Ethernet transmission ranging from 40G to 400G, all roads lead to 2-fiber and 8-fiber solution. For 40G/100G and future 400G applications, the use of 12-fiber MTP solution would result in 33% of the optical fibers unused. Thus it is expected that for 400G application, MTP-8 will gain widespread market acceptance.

MTP-8 Solution Benefits

Flexibility and 100% fiber utilization are the primary advantages of MTP-8 solution. Being wholly divisible by number “2”, MTP-8 solution can be easily used for two-fiber transceiver systems, just as MTP-12 solution can be. And for those who have deployed 12-fiber or 24-fiber trunk cables, how to ensure the 100% fiber utilization? MTP-8 can. You can use conversion cords or modules to transition two 12-fiber or one 24-fiber trunk from backbone cabling into three 8-fiber MTP for 40G/100G equipment connection. But in this process, conversion modules will introduce additional insertion loss into the channel and conversion cords. Thus deploying MTP-8 solution directly can ensure 100% fiber utilization without the additional cost and insertion loss of MTP-12 to MTP-8 conversion devices. In a word, for the most common 40G/100G/400G transceiver types, MTP-8 solution offers the most flexibility and uses the fibers to the fullest.

MTP-8 Solution in Data Center

As stated above, MTP-8 solution can be used in different applications. Here I’d like to show three examples.

Example 1: MTP trunk cable in 40G

In 40G data center, the simplest way to connect two 40G switches is to use the MTP trunk cable. As the picture shows, 40G data transmission can be achieved by connecting the both ends of the MTP trunk cable with the 40G QSFP transceivers inserted into the two 40G switches.

MTP-8 solution in 40G data center

Example 2: MTP to LC breakout cable in 10G/40G

For 10G to 40G migration, using the MTP breakout cable is a simple way. As shown in the following picture, the MTP to LC breakout cable connects a 40G transceiver and four 10G transceivers. So the 40G data can be transmitted from 10G switch to 40G switch through the MTP to LC breakout cable.

8 fiber MTP-LC breakout cable in 10G/40G migration

Example 3: MTP LC patch panel in 10G/40G

Besides using MTP breakout cable to achieve 10G to 40G migration, you can also use the MTP LC patch panel to fulfill 40G data transmission. The picture below shows the connectivity method. The 96 fibers MTP LC patch panel acts as a middleman between 10G to 40G connection. It has twelve 8-fiber MTP adapters on the rear and twelve 8 fiber LC adapters on the front. The MTP LC patch panel connects 40G QSFP ports with MTP trunk cable to the back of patch panel and then breaks out as 48 x 10G on the front with LC patch cords.

MTP-8 to LC patch panel in 10G/40G migration


Supporting the current and future 8-fiber applications, MTP-8 is considered as the most efficient and the most future-proof connectivity solution. Anyone with a near-tern migration plan to adopt 40G or 100G in the data center will find great benefits in adopting MTP-8 connectivity solution. In all, MTP-8 solution can ensure data centers have the most cost-effective, future-proof network available, with a easier migration path that scales out to 400G transmission.

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